5,000-horsepower Devel Sixteen surfaces in shocking test video
Shocking, as in we're shocked a car company would release footage this bad. But UAE hypercar company Devel has a legit 5,000-horsepower, 12.8 liter V16 engine, multiple prototypes, and now a super-lame test video of this spectacularly audacious machine.
The United Arab Emirates is one of the world's hottest markets for ultra-exclusive cars, and Devel Motors was founded in 2006 with the goal of distilling the UAE auto culture into a flatly outrageous hypercar. It would look like a fighter jet It would make five times more power than the Bugatti Veyron that had just glove-slapped the industry into a state of shock. And it promised to break any record put in front of it. It was an exclamation mark; a spectacularly vulgar display of horsepower that would put an immediate end to any bench racing argument.
Fifteen years later, the company is still trying to get the thing built. Perhaps that shouldn't be surprising; take a look at the promises here. The track-only top model promises more than 5,000 horsepower, with a street version not too far behind at around 3,000 ponies. This from a custom-built 12.3-liter V16 engine running four massive 81mm turbochargers. There's apparently a 2,000 horsepower V8 as well, if you're a complete wuss.
These are drag racing numbers; the only other car we're aware of promising 5,000 horsepower is the hilarious Alieno Arcanum, a Bulgarian Batmobile allegedly being built from a very impressive hole in the ground in a tiny, ramshackle town near the Greek border.
Why would you need that kind of power? Well, you wouldn't. But somebody chasing a production car land speed record might; the Devel is targeting a bone-chilling 350 mph (563 km/h) top speed. Drag rises with the square of speed, and the power required to overcome that drag rises at the cube of speed. Going twice as fast takes eight times the power, in an oversimplified world. So pushing beyond a 300 mph mark that nobody's been able to officially eclipse thus far will indeed take an insane amount of power.
Not to mention a pretty impressive interface with the road. If I was a tire with a positive outlook on life, I wouldn't want to be fitted to one of these. Indeed, the sheer violence of a 5,000 horsepower combustion engine will twist, crush, shake or heat every component between piston and road with frightening amounts of energy.
Many have derided the Devel Sixteen as being pure vaporware that'll never hit the street. But Devel has certainly thrown real money at it. For starters, that ludicrous motor is legit; it's been developed and built by Michigan-based custom builder Steve Morris Engines. SME even tested the thing on its own in-house engine dyno, which the company had to design and build in-house, because who the hell else needs a dyno with numbers that big on it?
There are also prototytpes, which have popped up in videos and images in several colors over the last few years. But the good looking ones don't seem to go very fast, if at all, and when "Supercar Blondie" yoinked the keys to film the world's first drive by a non-Devel employee, all the resulting video proved was that it does indeed have a very silly looking steering wheel, look a bit like a fighter jet, and raise one hell of a racket.
The design is very striking, particularly the giant double jet-style exhausts, the deceptively huge bubble cabin and the cartoonishly elongated back end needed to fit all that engine in. In fact, there's really only one other car I can think of that's got similar attributes and an even larger rear wing – and that one made it from Nitra to Bratislava a couple of months ago without touching the ground.
Either way, Devel has now released a couple more videos of a different prototype. The first, embedded below, shows the aluminum monocoque frame in the spray booth, as well as some wind tunnel shots, closeups on the adjustable suspension setup, and pre-paint carbon bodywork being put on.
The second shows an unfinished Sixteen taking its "first test." As with everything coming out of Devel, this video is confusing. It's been shot on a poor grade of potato, hand-held by somebody not familiar with the art of keeping vehicles in frame. The video is prefaced with the announcement that the car doesn't have its turbos fitted yet.
It's also not clear exactly what's being tested, or that there's anything particularly rigorous about the testing going on here. The car blats around taking the odd hairy-looking corner or two, but this isn't a race track; it's the grounds of Voghera Airport, a little way south of Milan in Italy.
The team appears to be trying to test the car's handling dynamics by chucking it into a very slight bend on the runway access road, cack-handedly enough to make the tires chirp, and by reefing the steering wheel left and right as it goes up the runway.
It does seem to receive a bit more of the ol' gumboot than Blondie was allowed to give it, but there's nothing too outrageous about the power on display. And the unpainted prototype shown is rough as guts on the exterior – from some angles it looks like it's made out of play-dough.
Still, while the presentation here would leave a PR rep (or a prospective customer, we imagine) hugging their knees in the shower and rocking back and forth, the message is clear enough: Devel is plugging away with every intention of getting this thing finished.
Will it hit 350 mph? Well look, sometimes it rains frogs, so hey, maybe. Frankly if it breaks 300, it'll be one of the great engineering and brass-balled driving feats of the modern age, and worth every oily cent its creators have thrown at it. We look on, spellbound, at this oddball operation and its fantastically berserk creation. Enjoy the test video below.
Source: Devel Motors